I spent a couple of hours at Chicuchas Wasi whilst visiting my daughter in Peru. I used to work for UNICEF UK, so have visited a number of schools in developing countries. I thought this school was a little jewel - the buildings are well designed and maintained, the girls obviously feel both nurtured and celebrated, and the staff are clearly united in their caring attitude and positive philosophy. I was very impressed.
Thank you for taking the time to write your review and for the kind comments for our 28 year old nonprofit. Please tell your friends about Chicuchas Wasi and become a supporter of our successful work to educate 110 girls in Cusco. -Rae Lewis, Founder
I had the privilege of visiting Chicuchas Wasi as part of my work with non-profit crowdfunding platform Global Giving - and found a wonderful school with inspirational, committed teachers and happy, incredible children. I have never felt so welcomed and moved by a project I've visited, which has created a loving and safe space for these girls - who face many hardships in their home lives. I particularly enjoyed being able to spend so much time with both founders of the school - Ruth and Rae - who are truly dedicated and have worked tirelessly for these girls for many years.
Thank you for taking the time to write this review and for visiting Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls in Cusco, Peru. I am glad that GlobalGiving makes real visits to see first hand the work we are doing. Gracias.
I became familiar with Chicuchas Wasy about 8 years ago and have since then followed its evolution. I have only visited it once, happily being invited to the official inauguration of the new school. This place is amazing in so many ways. First, the general atmosphere is so comforting. One feels immediately the happiness of these children to be there. Having had the chance on the inauguration day to meet many parents, it was also obvious that for them, knowing their girls are in such a loving environment is a huge relief from the hardship or their daily lives.
Ruth, the director of the school is a unique person. She shines in the presence of the girls and one can see how dedicated she is and how she strives to get the best for the girls as well as for their parents in way of coaching them.
I had tears in my eyes when the girls happily and heartily sang and danced on the inauguration day and upon my visit.
All the people I met involved in one way or another with Chicusas Wasi are really involved and caring for the project, which makes it a very viable project. Nevertheless it still needs support in many forms, including financial, as Ruth has great ambition for the girls welfare.
The setting of the school is amazing. Just above Cuzco. The school is very well organised, with food provided to the children, good classrooms, and a diversity of subjects taught, according to age of the girls. Even medical care and dentist check ups are available when possible. People who visit Chicuchas Wasi are usually all ready to help in whatever way they can, because it obviously is a succesfull project that can only bring good to these girls who otherwise would not have this opportunity for a brighter, educated future.
And being a social media addict, it is really nice to be regularly informed via Facebook of what is going on in the school and about the welfare of the girls.
Make a summary of the kindly Chicuchas Wasi activity is something very simple for me, because I have very vivid memories of the moment of its creation in the mind of Rae Lewis.
I met Rae in Lima, on their return from Cusco, by the end of the 1980s, she had attended a gathering with a group of friends engaged in the various expressions of the Andean culture, and at the end of the meeting everyone went to walk by the malecon of Miraflores.
On that occasion she told me that she had come to Peru as a turist. In Cusco she had an impressive encounter with the "street children".
Cusco is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of South American, and she never thought to find so heartbreaking images as small children in such a state of neglect. This childs, very advanced night, gathered in parks and squares of the city in order to sleep making mutual company and mutual protection in all circumstances.
She told me how difficult resulted to her achieve that some of them get closer to her at that evening hours, while on the day time, was so simple to watched them play and interact with tourists in many activities ranging from simple trade of sweets, newspapers, shoe shine... in short, all those that we are “use” to see.
Something different was to try that they accept her as a "protective", since adults infuse them great fear at that time. But she gradually won their trust and could make a "pact" with a handful of them, who agreed to receive a plate of hot food a day with the condition to accept to go to sleep in the place that she would provide for them.
In little more than one month she gets together nearly twenty children of different ages and conditions... and also of different feelings. Some of them decided to leave the street in exchange for the offer that they were receiving, in addition to food, personal hygiene (first level of health), and education.
Her determination led her to contact some of the children parents to ask for the motives and reasons to leave their children on so abandon situation on the street. There were explanations of all caliber and very dark silence, that were lost in the inhuman feelings.
Rae came to involve in her cooperative work several people, but their respective wills sometimes did not coincide with her´s and they left her "hanging". And she complained that. However, on the other hand, she had obtained positive response from restaurant owners who were permeable to cooperate with her.
Telling me all this and with my knowledge of the legal reality of the Peru I told her that it would be appropriate that she depersonalize her work in order to avoid falling into side responsibilities that could compromise their future and that of his work.
Her determination led her to contact some of the parents children to ask regarding the motives and reasons to leave so their children on the street.
Rae came to commit his work to several people, but their respective wills sometimes did not coincide with yours and they left "hanging". And she complained that. However, on the other hand, it had obtained positive response from restaurant owners who was raising to cooperate with it.
Telling me all this and with my knowledge of the legal reality of the Peru I told her that it would be appropriate that he despersonalize her work in order to avoid falling into side responsibilities that could compromise her future and work.
As presumably her continued tenacity and so then she acquired a house in the town of Urubamba - Valle Sagrado of Cusco which he called Chicuchas Wasi. Its initial conception was to make it a very special tourist hostel, where the first housed were just the children. They received there food, education, housing and dress, but above all love. In addition, having to learn everything that will help them in the future to interact in society and continue to be good people and prosper.
In 1992 I went with a large group of mountain cyclists friends to make several tours arround Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and we get accommodation at the hostel. Living pleasantly with children, from whom we receive many collaboration and joy. So enjoyable moments of sympathy they were recorded in all of us.
It was remarkable to see them very compromize to their respective student obligations, taking care of their own personal and communal obligations. Always emphasizing the joy and happiness of living under the protective mantle of Rae.
I have witnessed very risky facts and one of them was when the urgency of getting a vehicle that would serve as transportation for when she had to go with the children to visit their natural families, who lived in very remote areas of the provinces of Cusco.
She came to Lima, as she announced to bay a vehicle. With this intent we went to different local sale of second hand, until we find the ideal van.
I warned her that it would be necessary to wait for the transfer formalities to conclude so then take it to Cusco. I had to accept the reality that her tenacity and willingness to serve their children was more powerful than the "paperwork", because they can not wait. And, that same evening she went to Cusco... as if it were just around the corner. Of course, that encouraged me to join her... but I was only a lawyer with obligations and a Saturday cyclist adventurous, while she was off-road adventurous solidarity.
Two days later, I received her call, she had arrive to Cusco with peace of mind, despite her little knowledge of the territory and language, thanks to her vast knowledge of herself and confidence that things would be as God had predicted to be. For me, it was a splendid lesson.
Now, at least thirty year later…I may have more to add & tell about Chicuchas-Wasi until today school for girls…is a magnificent work for the good of them that in other circumstances will receive to little from life.
Thank you Lucho. I think you covered most of the 27 years (and only a few errors from memory) so I am impressed. Thank you so much for taking the time to dig down deep to recall all those years. I am glad to see your comments here. Happy Holidays Lucho.-Rae
I visited Chicuchas Wasi on my trip to Peru in May. They are doing such important work! And, Ruth's dedication floored me. We will support their work in the future by bringing all Llama Expeditions' groups to visit and make a donation. Go Chicuchas Wasi! Girl power!
Dear Diane. Thank you for your visit to our school and capturing the positive life-changing effect Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls is making for our students. Director Ruth Uribe is passionate about changing the oppression and gender inequality affecting girls and women in Cusco. And it shows in the faces of our students. Please stay in touch and visit often.-Rae
After many years of working as a program director as well as teaching English as a Second Language while working with the Mexian farmworkers in California and a rural, indigenous population in Mexico, I have had many opportunities to witness the great need as well as the great advantage of focusing education on the women and girls plays in the lives of a disadvantaged community. I have witnessed the growth and positive developments of Chicuchas Wasi over the years. Having visited Cusco, known the Project Director, met the Board and Ruth Uribe, I am amazed at their tenaciousness, their tirelessness and devoted attention to a very difficult project. I have also seen many valuable community educational development projects in Mexico fail due to frustration, lack of funding or community and government support. It is because of Chicuchas Wasi’s years of clear focus, hard work, positive outcomes and community support that they have been able to survive and prosper. Bravo! Moona O’Toole
Thank you Moona for your wonderful review of Chicuchas Wasi over the years. Your professional experience gives you great insight into the CW Alternative School for Indigenous Girls in Cusco, Peru. You have the experience to see the need and value of our project to raise awareness of the value of the girl child. It is an uphill climb, you are right. But we are getting up there and changes are noted.
I met Rae Lewis over 25 years ago in Sonoma, Ca, when she had this wild idea about starting a non-profit to help needy street children in Cusco, Peru. The challenges of starting such venture in Urubamba was not a barrier to this amazing woman. Without knowing much about the place and what to do, she forged ahead with the belief that her mission was worthwhile pursuing. She has learned a great deal about Peruvian bureaucracy, about being a foreigner starting a non-profit in Cusco, and about sharing her vision with a committed group of worldwide supporters who have helped realize her vision over the years. Rae recruited Ruth Uribe, an exceptional school director whose extensive educational experience, deep understanding of the plight of children in the Andes and fierce defense of quality education for all children has build the foundation for this dream school. Ruth is a motivational and able administrator who oversees a team of truly devoted teachers. After many years of growing the roots of Chicuchas Wasi, Rae has finally realized the construction of a school for girls. It is a dream school because in the Andes, poor families do not send girls to school, and their hopes for an education is lessened by a system that does not provide the educational impetus to empower girls to succeed with the belief that they can becoming a professional, an engineer, a lawyer, a professor, a doctor, even a president. The multiple obstacles that female students face to attain a post-secondary education are greater, and their education is not as important as their male counterparts. Chicuchas Wasi has created strong educational ripples that have touched many deeply. We have seem the growth and development of these children into intelligent, complex and strong human beings with an urge to help others, with the support of a global family. Chicuchas Wasi is an example of an organization whose heart and hands are for and by the people of Cusco and the region, but whose eyes and ears are for all to share and contribute to the dream. This is an exceptional organization that deserves your care in whatever way you can offer it because it will continue to break new ground in the education of children for years to come. Luis Kong, EdD.
What a glowing review from someone who knows the value of education for children forgotten by society. Thank you Luis for sharing your knowledge and experience to speak so well of Chicuchas Wasi over the years and our Girls School today.